Durbin Introduces New Bill To Expand Lincoln Home Historical Site

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced the Lincoln Home National Historic Site Boundary Modification Act, new legislation that would expand the boundary of the Lincoln Home National Historic site to include a replica 1844 Lincoln cottage and the Elijah Iles home. The bill would also require the National Park Service to increase the height of the road in front of the Lincoln home and at the intersection of 8th and Jackson to provide greater accessibility within the existing Lincoln Home site.

“Preserving the history of Abraham Lincoln and his Springfield roots enriches our understanding of this great American president. This bill would add new additions to the Lincoln National Historic site so future generations of Americans can learn more about the life of President Lincoln and his family,” Durbin said.  

The Abraham Lincoln Association is in the process of raising funds to create a replica of the Lincoln Home in Springfield, as it existed from 1844 to 1856, when the Lincoln family first moved in.  In 1856, the Lincolns expanded the original six-room cottage into the twelve-room home that is now the centerpiece of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.  The replica cottage will show what life was like for the Lincoln family the first 12 years in Springfield.

Built in 1837, by Elijah Iles, the house is the oldest structure in Springfield.   Iles was one of the founders of the city of Springfield and a friend and supporter of Lincoln.   Iles also played an important role in helping Lincoln secure the state capital's move from Vandalia to Springfield.

In 1977, the House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and historic significance.  The timber framed Greek Revival cottage was restored in 2005 and has since been open to the public. The home houses an extensive collection of pre-Civil War furniture and the Farrell and Ann Gay Museum of Springfield History.   

In 2019, the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation introduced by Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) that expanded the Lincoln National Heritage Area in Illinois to include Livingston County, the city of Jonesboro in Union County, and the city of Freeport in Stephenson County. The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area Amendment Act passed the Senate as part of the Natural Resources Management Act.